Salesforce gets into the private app store game
Salesforce will offer private app stores to help its customers distribute apps to end users.
The move gives Salesforce customers an easy way to advertise apps that they want their employees to use, while giving employees the choice to download and install the apps themselves, rather than resorting to pushing apps out by brute force as is traditional in the PC world.
Although the Salesforce Private AppExchange is itself built on the Salesforce platform, the apps in it don't have to be -- it will work for any native or web app, commercial (like Evernote or Gmail) or enterprise-built. (Support for desktop apps is coming at some unspecified future time.) Companies will be able to select the apps and group them into particular areas, such as human resources, and will be able to add their own branding and logos. Companies will also be able to track downloads and usage of apps, which will help them figure out which apps are working and which need improvement.
Users will access these private enterprise app stores through the core Salesforce app, where it will replace the public AppExchange, where more than 2,000 apps built on the Salesforce platform can be downloaded.
In other words, like most Salesforce features, this is a solution for existing Salesforce customers, not an attempt to become a full solution for enterprise app distribution like MobileIron (which boasts tight integration with Salesforce) or Apperian.
So why is Salesforce going down this road? Because its biggest customers demanded it.
Ron Huddleston, the senior vice president of channel alliances for Salesforce, says that several customers have approached the company in the past and asked to "buy the AppExchange." Specifically, they wanted to buy the code for the public AppExchange and customize it for their own users. Instead of doing that, Salesforce is simply adding the Private AppExchange feature into the all its enterprise-level and higher bundles at no extra charge. It will also be available with Salesforce Identity, the recently introduced identity and access management service, and with some other offerings.
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